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Sunday, January 1, 2012

Reflecting on our time in Guatemala

We are now settled back in Kentucky and reflecting on our time in Guatemala. While things did not turn out as we had expected, we know that God was able to work through us during our time there and that He will continue to use us in other ways if we are willing to trust and follow Him. We are so thankful for the friendships that were made in Guatemala. We are happy to be able to chat with several of our friends on Facebook. A few weeks ago we were able to talk to Orily on the phone and she plans to work with a small team from Lexington in just a week or so. Although we are enjoying being back so close to our friends and family here in Kentucky, we will always remember the many amazing experiences we had in Guatemala and pray for the future experiences we hope to have there.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Robby took us to El Tejar to prepare for his last house project and show us the bathroom they finished for Orily's daughter. She was so happy to have a bathroom connected to her house!

We are so thankful for the time we spent working with Orily. Without her, none of our work here would have been possible. We laugh everytime she "translates" for us -- she only speaks Spanish, but sometimes when families speak quickly or use words we don't know, she translates their Spanish into Spanish that we understand.

Mely & Orily

Leah loved Mely's cat!

Later as Robby bought the wood for the last house, Leah discovered how much fun it was so climb the sawdust mountain and jump to Orily.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Kara & Mario

We have been so thankful to have faithful supporters making it possible for us to work here in Guatemala. Now that we are leaving, I wondered if any of you would like to continue supporting missionaries serving in Guatemala. I would like to share a little about two missionaries we have met, Kara and Mario.

Kara has previously taught first grade in the Dominican Republic and after three short-term trips to Guatemala moved here to start a preschool in Magdalena. Her vision is to provide a Christ-centered educational environment for children in this town who are not otherwise able to attend preschool. They have just completed their first year and she has big dreams for this school to continue to grow.

Mario works with Students International, an organization that works with students and the poor bringing them together cross-culturally to encounter God, share the Good News, disciple and serve others in occupational ministries. Mario coordinates projects involving water filters, building projects, and other projects to benefit the families of the community of El Gorrion.

Mario and Kara will be getting married December 3rd of this year. Their plans are to live in Magdalena and continue serving communities nearby. They love serving others and simply want to be the hands and feet of Jesus, serving others and sharing his love with them.

If you would like to be a part of the work that Kara and Mario are doing here in Guatemala, feel free to email them at or

Support can be sent to:

Mario Mendez Jr.
c/o Students International
P.O. Box 2733
Visalia, CA 93279

*Make checks payable to Students International and attach a note stating the donation is for Mario Mendez Jr.& Kara in Guatemala.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Not Just a Stove

I think today was just as much a blessing for Robby and me as it was for the families we visited. We had big plans for today -- visiting five families, installing five stoves, and building a roof over some of those stoves. A big thank you to my mom for sending the money for us to install these stoves! She knows how this dramatically helps each family. And you should see how THRILLED the women are when they get the chance to use their new stove. No more smoke in the house, no more countless hours collecting firewood. But today was so much more than installing stoves. It was about us spending time with each of the families and showing them that we care and that there is a God in heaven who cares.

This is Ruth, one of Orily's daughters. Her girls are precious (Michelle and Julissa) and it was so much fun spending time with them. The youngest, Julissa, loved using my camera so while Orily and I posed calling ourselves modelas (models) Robby just laughed and called us payasas (clowns).

Another family that received a stove today was Imanuel (pictured above with his oldest sister). Imanuel's mother died in childbirth and he suffers from hydrocephalis. His grandmother is raising Imanuel and his four siblings. As Orily shared the grandmother's story with us, we couldn't imagine how she still had a smile on her face. Two of her children have died and two others have been killed. Despite her difficult life, she remains joyful -- no doubt she is filled with joy because of the love of Christ. What an example she was for all of us today!

Special thank you to the Geis family and the Clark family for sending donations to help this family with diapers and food. What you thought was a small donation was a huge blessing for this family! It was so touching to hear how they plan to pray for you.

Why does this family look so serious? Probably because the last time we saw them, Robby pulled two of the mother's teeth out! We promised them that Dr. Shutt was not with us and we were only there to install their new stove. They tried to talk us into staying for lunch, but Orily explained that we have more families to visit.

We are so thankful to have Heidi as our babysitter! The kids get excited every time we tell them that she is coming to watch them. We are really going to miss her and hope she is able to visit us in the States one day.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Silvia's Sweet Family

Back in May I met Sylvia who stopped by her friend's house as we were putting in a concrete floor. Sylvia asked me that day if I could help her family with a house. She explained that they owned a small piece of land nearby and was even so desperate that she said her son could be a gift for me if we could build a house for them. We had a very long list of families that were living in terrible conditions and needed some help and I sadly explained that I didn't know if we would be able to help her family.

I did take a picture of her little boy and shared on the blog how awful it is to not be able to help every family that is living in poverty here. The needs can definitely be overwhelming! Not long after, I met Jody (via emails) who works for Children of the Americas and also has a non-profit called Finding Freedom Through Friendship. She wanted to help this family as well and her non-profit was able to raise the funds to build Silvia's family a home.

Robby, along with Orily, Carlos, Silvia and her husband, worked together to build the home this past week. Finding Freedom Through Friendship also sent money for food for this family. I guess the best part of working here in Guatemala has been to see how God orchestrates the details. Sylvia did not know we were stopping by today. The family has not moved into their new house yet because Robby is going to install their stove and have the dedication service next week. So when we arrived at the "house" they are renting, one of the daughters had to run down the street to find Sylvia. Literally the only food this family had was one small onion and so their mother was trying to sell a chicken so that they could afford to buy tortillas for the family. Thanks to Jody and her friends we were able to surprise this family was enough food for a month!

But we were reminded again today that God doesn't just care about this family's physical needs -- He wants a relationship with each of them as well. We were happy to hear when Sylvia shared with us today that two months ago she accepted Jesus as her Savior.

"The LORD hears his people when they call to him for help. He rescues them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those who are crushed in spirit."

Psalms 34:17-18

Friday, September 2, 2011

A Day at the Center

Look at this little angel face! Once Juanita looks at me with those big brown eyes, of course I have to get her out of her bed!

Juanita -- much happier out of her bed.

Lydia with her tongue out as she crawled.

My little Thelma - cute as a button!

Robby & Luis

Cindy (or Cindy Lu as we call her because she is so sweet!) was a happy girl.
Her grandmother came and visited her today.

Sweet dreams, Thelma!

Robby and Abelado
I'm sure the nannies don't push the babies around this fast...

But of course Abelado loved every minute of it!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Hearing Test for Kimberly

A while back we blogged about Kimberly, the daughter of the pastor we work with in El Tejar. Her parents were concerned that she was not hearing as clearly as she should. When we took her to Hermano Pedro in Antigua they told us to come back in February when the audiologist would be there, but we didn't want to have to wait that long to find out about her hearing. Another organization referred us to an audiologist in the city and we were able to take Kimberly and her mother there today.

Kimberly was very nervous -- she was riding around with us in the city (which I think was her first time) and she was experiencing many things for the first time like riding in an elevator. Then we remembered that the last time Kimberly saw us was at the dental clinic and most of the kids then were getting shots and teeth pulled. She probably didn't know what to expect!

She was relieved to find out that she didn't need any shots today. They did find that she has hearing loss in both ears. The hearing clinic had received a grant and we were happy to find out that Kimberly qualifies to receive her hearind aids for free! They took the impressions today and her hearing aids should be ready around the first of October.

We are so happy for what this means for Kimberly. She has been in elementary school for four years, but has had to repeat the same grade each year. It's no wonder considering there are 60 students in her class and she has not been hearing the teacher's instructions. Thank you to Brad and Holly Clark for organizing a yard sale to raise money for different ministries in Guatemala. Because of their help, Kimberly has a much better future ahead of her!